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Theodore "Teo" Melis, Ph.D.

In 2024, Theodore "Teo" Melis is serving as the Acting Director of the Southwest Biological Science Center at the Flagstaff Science Campus office.

Teo Melis' service to the U.S. Geological Survey has been marked by exceptional performance and dedication. Teo's career started with the Water Resources Division’s National Research Program in Tucson, AZ (1990-1996), studying extreme floods and debris flow influences on Colorado River habitats in Grand Canyon National Park in support of U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation’s Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on Glen Canyon Dam (GCD) operations. He helped plan and implement the first Glen Canyon Dam (GCD) high-flow experiment (HFE), and helped establish the Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center (GCMRC). As a GCMRC scientist and program manager (1996-2015), Teo worked closely with the Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program (GCDAMP) and its stakeholders to meet science needs to support their recommendations to the Secretary of the Interior on the operations of GCD.

Teo served as Deputy Chief of the GCMRC (2006-2013), leading programs focused on understanding geomorphology in Grand Canyon which helped lead to the implementation of the HFE Protocol, an effort to manage limited sediment resources using Glen Canyon Dam releases to rebuild and maintain sandbars in Grand Canyon. Teo also led knowledge assessments resulting from interdisciplinary science programs to improve understanding of the links between the physical river processes, biological resources, and cultural sites. In 2008, Teo’s contributions to the GCDAMP were recognized with the DOI’s Meritorious Service Award. From 2012 to 2014, he also served on a special technical liaison assignment to the Long-Term Experimental Management Program EIS, to assist in completing compliance on a 20-year long flow experiment at Glen Canyon Dam, resulting in a new Record-of-Decision on Glen Canyon Dam operations in 2016. Since 2015, Teo has served as the Deputy Director of the Southwest Biological Science Center, where he helped lead a reorganization of the Center into two branches and oversee Center operations including the IT and safety teams. He is currently SBSC Acting Director.

In his time away from his USGS post, he annually cycle-tours around Europe, while remaining an active bike commuter at 2,100 m in his hometown of Flagstaff.